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Author Topic: Ghost in the Shell  (Read 1484 times)

TordelBack

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #30 on: 07 April, 2017, 06:31:19 am »
Well, if you think being part of a marginalized culture is really the only important thing about Luke Cage being black that defines him differently from some other character. My argument is that the cultural aspect still applies whatever the race in question. There is no "neutral" or "default" human being outside of the cultural context that gives rise to that person.

I wasn't really constructing a theory of contextual identity, more reflectng that I have a large cardboard box of yellowing Hero for Hire, Power Man and Power Man & Iron Fist comics from the 70s and 80s and I'm pretty sure that being black and specifically African American is very important to the concept and history of the character, moreso than anything else really.. If we're talking about the Netflix show I've no idea, I haven't seen it, but I can't imagine the point of (re)using the Luke Cage character if he's not portrayed as black American.

Your points about the stripping out the cultural specifics of a property are spot on.

JamesC

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #31 on: 07 April, 2017, 06:36:52 am »
In all seriousness, we know perfectly well why ScarJo was cast. The producers wanted a bankable star in the lead role. There simply aren't any female Japanese actors with Star-power equal to Scarlett's in the west.
That's the bottom line, rightly or wrongly. The justification that the main character is in a robot body and therefore that race is less important seems like a reasonable compromise and in-universe explanation to me. At least they've cast Asian actors in other roles and have kept Japan as the setting.

SIP

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #32 on: 07 April, 2017, 06:45:55 am »
A quote from Mamoru Oshii, the director of the animated movie that the live action film borrows heavily from:

"The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name 'Motoko Kusanagi' and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her. Even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one, that would still apply ... I can only sense a political motive from the people opposing it, and I believe artistic expression must be free from politics."

positronic

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #33 on: 07 April, 2017, 06:50:32 am »
It's just that when I think about some of the things that Ghost in the Shell is about, and what the characters are like, there are some bits that are more or less universal to the human condition, and some bits that are strikingly, to me, very much part of a Japanese state of mind. A good example here would be the "relationship" (such as it is) that exists between Kusanagi and Batou. Observing it in the stories, it's not so divorced from a universal empathy with human conditions, but when I look at it, I find it hard to conceive that an American would have written those characters the same way. The barriers that exist that hold them at arms length from each other, and the tether of duty and loyalty that binds them to each other, just feels distinct to a Japanese frame of mind.

positronic

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #34 on: 07 April, 2017, 07:01:17 am »
A quote from Mamoru Oshii, the director of the animated movie that the live action film borrows heavily from:

"The Major is a cyborg and her physical form is an entirely assumed one. The name 'Motoko Kusanagi' and her current body are not her original name and body, so there is no basis for saying that an Asian actress must portray her. Even if her original body (presuming such a thing existed) were a Japanese one, that would still apply ... I can only sense a political motive from the people opposing it, and I believe artistic expression must be free from politics."

But of course the people involved in the creative end of the Japanese work have no interest in whether the movie is made or not? It doesn't affect them in any way, monetarily (whether directly, or INdirectly) or in expanding the popularity of a franchise which might afford them future work?

If you're going to change Kusanagi's nationality/ethnicity in a film adaptation, at least grant me relief from looking at a Caucasian actress whose character is saddled with a distinctly Japanese name, because the mental schism it invokes breaks down my suspension of disbelief.

positronic

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #35 on: 07 April, 2017, 07:26:09 am »
I guess to summarize my POV about GitS, I'd say that what that story is really about, apart from the sf/cyberpunk tropes that drive the story, is about identity, about what it means to be human. What is it that separates a human being from just a collection of data, 1s and 0s residing on a hard drive somewhere in cyberspace?

You can create an analog of that basic idea, and make the central character white, black, male, gay or whatever. But it won't be precisely the same character of Kusanagi as she appears in the original, Japanese-created work.

SIP

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #36 on: 07 April, 2017, 07:35:44 am »
The new movie version does not share the same back story (though I don't want to reveal spoilers) as the animated versions.  But to be fair Kusanagi from Arise has a different back story to the Kusanagi in SAC, who again differs from the original comic version.

It would be fair to say that there is no specifically definitive version of Kusanagi.  This is just another iteration.

positronic

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #37 on: 07 April, 2017, 07:43:28 am »
The new movie version does not share the same back story (though I don't want to reveal spoilers) as the animated versions.  But to be fair Kusanagi from Arise has a different back story to the Kusanagi in SAC, who again differs from the original comic version.

It would be fair to say that there is no specifically definitive version of Kusanagi.  This is just another iteration.

True. This is why I don't like all of the iterations of GitS equally. Some versions develop the idea better than others, and of course we tend to be prejudiced by the earlier versions that we liked over later versions that change something about another version that we liked. It's simply the way things are, and you can't blame people for having preferences about specific aspects. It's hard to reduce the work to a framework of pure concepts in which specific bits become interchangeable.
« Last Edit: 07 April, 2017, 07:46:38 am by positronic »

positronic

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #38 on: 07 April, 2017, 09:01:57 am »
Regarding the quote from Mamoru Oshii, well you have to view these things in a larger context, which is not to imply that he's not sincere in his remarks. It's simply the case that if a Sylvester Stallone Judge Dredd movie is in the works or in current release, you won't be reading interviews with John Wagner or Alan Grant being quoted for public consumption with comments like "I read the script and it was complete bollocks.", or taking issue with the casting of Stallone as Dredd, as long as they are working writers in an industry where they are dependent on the goodwill of publishers for freelance employment -- Alan Moore's atypical stance relative to the comics publishing industry notwithstanding. The only time you're going to see any negativity expressed on the record is when Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster are living in low-rent apartments on a monthly social security stipend while Warner Brothers and DC Comics are making millions and ballyhoo'ing a new Superman movie, or there's a Marvel Ghost Rider movie and the original writer of the comic, Gary Friedrich, can't pay his medical bills. So if Masumune Shirow was approached for comment and he didn't like some aspect of a film adapted from his original story, you won't be seeing a lot of articles built around "the original creator declined to comment".

Arkwright99

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #39 on: 07 April, 2017, 09:10:47 am »
I guess to summarize my POV about GitS, I'd say that what that story is really about, apart from the sf/cyberpunk tropes that drive the story, is about identity, about what it means to be human. What is it that separates a human being from just a collection of data, 1s and 0s residing on a hard drive somewhere in cyberspace?
The Scarlett Johanssan GitS is entirely about identity of course. Throughout the film she's wondering who she is, where she came from, what are her true memories, what are false memories that have been implanted by Hanka. Hanka sees Major as a weapon, Dr Ouelet sees Mira as a person, Kusanagi doesn't know what (or who) she is but as she pursues Kuse she learns her real history and at the end of the film embraces it (literally). The future presented in GitS is a multicultural, multi-racial, transhuman - even posthuman - society. To get hung up on the whole 'Major must look Japanese' argument is to arguably miss the point the film is trying to make. We are not defined by our memories (or our ethnicity); we are defined by what we do.
'Life isn’t divided into genres. It’s a horrifying, romantic, tragic, comical, science-fiction cowboy detective novel … with a bit of pornography if you're lucky.' - Alan Moore

positronic

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #40 on: 07 April, 2017, 09:34:47 am »
I guess to summarize my POV about GitS, I'd say that what that story is really about, apart from the sf/cyberpunk tropes that drive the story, is about identity, about what it means to be human. What is it that separates a human being from just a collection of data, 1s and 0s residing on a hard drive somewhere in cyberspace?
The Scarlett Johanssan GitS is entirely about identity of course. Throughout the film she's wondering who she is, where she came from, what are her true memories, what are false memories that have been implanted by Hanka. Hanka sees Major as a weapon, Dr Ouelet sees Mira as a person, Kusanagi doesn't know what (or who) she is but as she pursues Kuse she learns her real history and at the end of the film embraces it (literally). The future presented in GitS is a multicultural, multi-racial, transhuman - even posthuman - society. To get hung up on the whole 'Major must look Japanese' argument is to arguably miss the point the film is trying to make. We are not defined by our memories (or our ethnicity); we are defined by what we do.

Don't give her a Japanese name then, if you're not going to cast someone that can pass as Japanese. The concept is the same.

Kusanagi isn't defined by her memories? So we can just delete, rewrite, selectively edit those and she remains the same character? Who she was, what she experienced in her life up to the point where she decides to DO anything has no bearing whatsoever? I'd argue the opposite, that it's our history that defines our future, or at least informs it in a way that is crucial to what we decide to do next.

CalHab

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #41 on: 07 April, 2017, 09:40:31 am »
And there was me thinking that it looked like a decent excuse for a trip to the cinema, despite being utterly bemused by the praise for the anime when I watched it back in the day.

I must be in a minority.

SIP

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #42 on: 07 April, 2017, 09:47:57 am »
Apparently it's visually beautiful and is a decent, entertaining film. I'm looking forward to seeing it.

Link Prime

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #43 on: 07 April, 2017, 09:52:39 am »
And there was me thinking that it looked like a decent excuse for a trip to the cinema, despite being utterly bemused by the praise for the anime when I watched it back in the day.

I must be in a minority.

Course not CalHab.

Close your eyes, take my hand and pretend I'm Morten Harket- we'll escape this madness together.

CalHab

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Re: Ghost in the Shell
« Reply #44 on: 07 April, 2017, 10:09:41 am »
And there was me thinking that it looked like a decent excuse for a trip to the cinema, despite being utterly bemused by the praise for the anime when I watched it back in the day.

I must be in a minority.

Course not CalHab.

Close your eyes, take my hand and pretend I'm Morten Harket- we'll escape this madness together.

Take on me!